ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

Wells Fargo to Pilot Settlement Service Using Blockchain

Wells Fargo & Company announced plans to pilot an internal settlement service, Wells Fargo Digital Cash, which will run on Wells Fargo’s first blockchain platform.

// STAY UP TO DATE – FOLLOW BLOCKCHAIN DAILY ON TWITTER: @BLCKCHAINDAILY

Wells Fargo Digital Cash will allow Wells Fargo to complete internal book transfers of cross-border payments within its global network using digitized cash — and for those international locations to exchange that digitized cash among themselves.

To date, Wells Fargo has successfully proven the concept of moving value between the U.S. and Canada. The internal DLT network will be a reusable enterprise utility for Wells Fargo to build and deploy multiple DLT-based applications.

“As a result of the increasing digitization of banking services globally, we see a growing demand to further reduce friction regarding traditional borders, and today’s technology puts us in a strong position to do that,” said Lisa Frazier, head of the Innovation Group at Wells Fargo.

“We believe Distributed Ledger technology (DLT) holds promise for a variety of use cases, and we’re energized to take this significant step in applying the technology to banking in a material and scalable way. Wells Fargo Digital Cash has the potential to enable Wells Fargo to remove barriers to real-time financial interactions across multiple accounts in multiple marketplaces around the world.”

DLT provides a permanent, highly secure and trusted record of transactions.

Wells Fargo Digital Cash will run on DLT and will help Wells Fargo achieve near real-time money movement without impact to the underlying account, transaction postings or reconcilement infrastructure with international transactions (where platforms and process differ).

Wells Fargo global locations will be able to exchange funds in expanded operating hours without limitations from traditional posting infrastructure or differences in infrastructure across the network.

RELATED: NASA to Hire Data Scientist With Blockchain Background

Final settlement will occur without the need for third parties, reducing transfer time and costs. Corporate clients will not have to change their payment processes, cash management responsibilities or relationship management practices to benefit.

The pilot, planned for 2020, is expected to complete USD transfers initially, with a goal to expand to multi-currency transfers and the entire global Wells Fargo branch network.

The internal DLT network is proprietary and will not be connected to any other digital cash solutions emerging in the financial services markets today.

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets.

Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,600 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet and mobile banking, and has offices in 32 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy.

With approximately 263,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.

Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2019 rankings of America’s largest corporations.

// CLICK HERE FOR MORE BLOCKCHAIN NEWS

Donate BTC: 13xyfdE1ERCu6ZaZ6Ejj7x6B7au8GJXont (Click for QR)
ERC 20: 0x3930890DC36E40e17c280aF5A80cEAC30732cFB9 (Click for QR)

ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

International Monetary Fund Releases Statement on Cryptocurrency, Stablecoins

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a statement regarding potential use cases and risks associated with cryptocurrency, including stablecoins


By Tobias Adrian and Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli

A battle is raging for your wallet. New entrants want to occupy the space once used by paper bills or your debit card.

// STAY UP TO DATE – FOLLOW BLOCKCHAIN DAILY ON TWITTER: @BLCKCHAINDAILY

The adoption of new, digital payment methods could bring significant benefits to customers and society: improved efficiency, greater competition, broader financial inclusion, and more innovation. But it could invite risks to financial stability and integrity, monetary policy effectiveness, and competition standards, as outlined in a recent IMF staff paper, the first of a new series of Fintech Notes.

“Adoption of new forms of money will depend on their attractiveness as a store of value and means of payment.”

Stablecoin adoption

Adoption of new forms of money will depend on their attractiveness as a store of value and a means of payment. New entrants like stablecoins, however, are significantly different from the popular incumbents: cash or bank deposits.

RELATED: Christine Lagarde: Central Banks Should Explore Issuing Digital Currency

While many stablecoins continue to be claims on the issuing institution or its underlying assets, and many also offer redemption guarantees at face value (a coin bought for 10 euros can be exchanged back for a 10-euro note, like a bank account), government-backing is absent. Trust must be generated privately by backing coin issuance with safe and liquid assets. And the settlement technology is usually decentralized, based on the blockchain model.

Times are changing. USD Coin recently launched in 85 countries, Facebook announced Libra, and centralized variants of the stablecoin business model are becoming widespread. So why are stablecoins taking off?

The strength of stablecoins is their attractiveness as a means of payment. Low costs, global reach, and speed are all huge potential benefits. Moreover, stablecoins could allow seamless payments of blockchain-based assets, and can be embedded into digital applications thanks to their open architecture, as opposed to the proprietary legacy systems of banks.

But the strongest attraction comes from the networks that promise to make transacting as easy as using social media. Payments are more than the mere act of transferring money. They are a fundamentally social experience linking people. Stablecoins offer the potential for better integration into our digital lives and are designed by firms that thrive on user-centric design. Large technology firms with enormous global user bases offer a ready-made network over which new payment services can quickly spread.

Risks of stablecoins

Risks abound, however—so policymakers must create an environment that maximizes benefits and minimizes risks. Policymakers will need to innovate and collaborate across countries, but also across functions. Here are six observations for them to consider.

First, banks may lose their place as intermediaries if they lose deposits to stablecoin providers. But banks are not sitting ducks. They will surely try to compete by offering their own innovations (and higher interest rates). Also, stablecoin providers could recycle their funds into the banking system, or decide to engage in lending by extending deposits themselves. In short, banks are unlikely to disappear.

Second, new monopolies could arise. Tech giants could use their networks to shut out competitors and monetize information, using proprietary access to data on customer transactions. New standards are needed for data protection, portability, control, and ownership. And services need to be interoperable to facilitate entry.

Third, weaker currencies could face threats. In countries with high inflation and weak institutions, local currencies might be shunned in favor of stablecoins in foreign currency. This would be a new form of “dollarization” and might undermine monetary policy, financial development, and economic growth. As countries are forced to improve their monetary and fiscal policies, they will have to decide whether to restrict foreign-currency stablecoins.

Fourth, stablecoins could promote illicit activities. Providers must show how they will prevent the use of their networks for activities like money laundering and terrorist financing by enforcing international standards. New technologies offer opportunities to improve monitoring, however supervisors will need to adapt to the more fragmented and geographically diverse value chain of stablecoins.

Fifth, stablecoins could provoke the loss of “seigniorage,” where central banks capture profits from the difference between a currency’s face value and its manufacturing cost. Issuers could siphon off profits if their stablecoins do not carry interest but if the hard currency backing them earns a return. One way to address this issue is to promote competition so issuers of coins would eventually pay interest.

Sixth, policymakers must reinforce consumer protection and financial stability. Customer funds must be safe and protected from bank runs. This calls for legal clarity on what kind of financial instruments stablecoins represent. One approach would be to regulate stablecoins like money market funds that guarantee fixed nominal returns, requiring providers to maintain sufficient liquidity and capital.

Stablecoins thus present as many conundrums as they do potential benefits—and policymakers would be wise to envision far-sighted regulatory regimes that will meet the challenge. The policies adopted today will mold the world of tomorrow. We explore one such avenue in our next blog.

// CLICK HERE FOR MORE BLOCKCHAIN NEWS

Donate BTC: 13xyfdE1ERCu6ZaZ6Ejj7x6B7au8GJXont (Click for QR)
ERC 20: 0x3930890DC36E40e17c280aF5A80cEAC30732cFB9 (Click for QR)

ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

France to Block Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency in Europe

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stated the nation will block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, after recent concerns regarding the threat to the sovereignty of national currencies in the EU.

// STAY UP TO DATE – FOLLOW BLOCKCHAIN DAILY ON TWITTER: @BLCKCHAINDAILY

“I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil,” stated Le Maire, during the opening of an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conference on blockchain.

“It would be a global currency, held by a single player, which has more than two billion users around the world. The monetary sovereignty of states is under states is under threat.”

Le Maire’s concerns revolve around an idea that Libra may “substitute itself as a national currency” causing financial disruption.

“I don’t see why we should dedicate so much effort to combating money laundering and terrorist financing for so many years to see a digital currency like Libra completely escape those regulatory efforts,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Libra Association stated it will “maintain Anti-Money Laundering (AML) guidelines, which its members will be expected to comply with if they choose to provide financial services on the Libra network.”

“The association will set standards for its members to maintain AML and anti-fraud programs, and to cooperate with legitimate law enforcement investigations.”

Le Maire’s anti-crypto views have remained consistent, as this is not the first time he has commented on Libra.

In June, during the debut of Libra, the French minister stated “it is out of question’’ that Libra should “become a sovereign currency. It can’t and it must not happen.”

According to a CNBC report, Le Maire stated today that he has discussed the possibility of a “public digital currency” with outgoing European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi and IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde, who will take over the ECB later this year.

// CLICK HERE FOR MORE BLOCKCHAIN NEWS

ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

Mastercard, R3 Partner to Develop New Blockchain Cross-Border Payments Solution

Mastercard and R3 have announced a strategic partnership to develop and pilot a new blockchain-enabled cross-border payments solution that will initially focus on connecting global faster payments infrastructures, schemes and banks supported by a clearing and settlement network operated by Mastercard.

// STAY UP TO DATE – FOLLOW BLOCKCHAIN DAILY ON TWITTER: @BLCKCHAINDAILY

Earlier this year, Mastercard strengthened its cross-border network reach with its acquisition of Transfast.

Today’s announcement complements the company’s formidable capabilities by providing access to R3’s Corda ecosystem, which includes more than 300 of the world’s leading financial services firms, technology companies, central banks, regulators and trade associations.

Peter Klein
Peter Klein

“Developing a new and better cross-border B2B payments solution by improving worldwide connectivity in the account-to-account space is central to Mastercard’s ambition,” said Peter Klein, executive vice president of New Payment Platforms for Mastercard.

“Our goal is to deliver global payment infrastructure choice and connectivity as demonstrated through our recent strategic acquisitions and partnerships, including our relationship with R3. It confirms our commitment to innovation, both home-grown and through partnerships and acquisitions, to support advances and innovation in the increasingly complex global payment infrastructure space.”

The partnership is the latest step in Mastercard’s multi-rail strategy, providing customers with unrivalled choice in how they move money.

By combining R3’s expertise in blockchain with Mastercard’s existing payment systems assets, brand and distribution, the partnership will provide increasingly innovative, value add services for customers, addressing factors such as high processing overheads, liquidity management and the existing lack of standardization and processes between banks and domestic clearing systems.

David Rutter
David Rutter

“We are excited to partner with Mastercard to help shape the future of the digital payments ecosystem,” said David E. Rutter.

“All institutions – large or small – rely on the ability to send and receive payments, but all too often the technology they rely upon is cumbersome and expensive. Cross-border payments can be a particular pain point. Corda was designed specifically for enterprise use cases such as this, and we look forward supporting Mastercard in bringing blockchain-enabled payments businesses across the globe.”

R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a global ecosystem of more than 300 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.

R3’s global team of over 200 professionals in 13 countries is supported by over 2,000 technology, financial, and legal experts drawn from its vibrant ecosystem.

The Corda platform is already being used in industries from financial services to healthcare, shipping, insurance and more. It records, manages and executes institutions’ financial agreements in perfect synchrony with their peers, creating a world of frictionless commerce.

// CLICK HERE FOR MORE BLOCKCHAIN NEWS

ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

VeChain Releases Blockchain-Encrypted Wine

SHANGHAI – Enterprise blockchain platform VeChain has partnered with winemaker Penfolds to utilize the technology as part of its Wine Traceability Platform (WTP) initiative.

// STAY UP TO DATE – FOLLOW BLOCKCHAIN DAILY ON TWITTER: @BLCKCHAINDAILY

Forty years of explosive economic growth has made China the second-largest economy in the world and helped create millions of middle-class households.

With the improvement of living standards and the change of lifestyle, drinking wine has become increasingly popular among the better-off Chinese citizens.

According to the Research Report on Wine Import in China, 2019-2023, China imported $3.91 billion worth of wine in 2018, up by 6.50 percent year on year.

According to VINEXPO, China will become the world’s second-largest wine consumer by 2023 with a market value estimated to be worth $23 billion.

The booming market has caught the eyes of both savvy wine producers and cunning copycats and counterfeiters.

In November 2017, the Shanghai Police seized 14,000 bottles of counterfeit Penfolds, worth over 1 million USD. Five months later, police officers in Zhengzhou, He Nan Province busted another 50,000 fake bottles, worth over 2.8 million USD.

Given the nature of wine fraud, these reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg.

Wineries and distributors have taken various anti-counterfeiting measures to combat fraudulent sales, yet few have proved useful.

To tackle the issue, D.I.G. (Shanghai Waigaoqiao Direct Imported Goods Co., Ltd.), a major importer in China, worked with VeChain, a world-leading enterprise-level, public blockchain, and launched the Wine Traceability Platform (WTP) in June 2018.

Built on the VeChain ToolChain, a revolutionary one-stop BaaS platform designed by VeChain, WTP took advantage of the strengths of blockchain, IoT devices, and mobile devices to keep track of the entire lifecycle of wine from wineries to distributors.

So far, the 20-plus wine products imported by D.I.G. have gone live on the platform, and one-third of that was imported by the company.

According to D.I.G.’s statistics, the wines enjoyed an average of a 10% increase in sales after implementing the solution, resulting from enhanced consumer confidence.

In July 2019, Phase 2 of WTP kickstarted with the introduction of Penfolds Bin 407.

This was the first time that Penfolds, one of Australia’s most famed and respected winemakers, had been empowered by blockchain for enhanced anti-counterfeiting and traceability.

Founded in 1844, Penfolds is best known for its iconic Grand Wine. Over the years, Penfolds has won a number of accolades and awards.

For example, the 1955 Grange was named one of the top 12 wines of the 20th Century by Wine Spectator, and the 2008 Grange picked up a perfect 100-point score from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

In the case of Bin 407, each bottle is attached with an encrypted N.F.C. tag specially designed for wine products.

By reading the N.F.C. chip, customers can access the relevant wine bottle’s immutable product information stored on the blockchain, such as provenance information verified by independent auditors such as D.N.V. G.L.

In this way, wineries can prevent their products from being counterfeited while allowing consumers to form more in-depth insight into the product, enhancing their confidence in the product.

VeChainThor Blockchain-powered Penfolds 407 bottles are now available in three brick stores:

Waigaoqiao International Alcohol Exhibition & Trading Center:
No.77, Fute West 3rd Road, China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone

D.I.G. Flagship Store:
No. 460, Fute North Road, China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone

Sen Lan Shang Du Store:
No. 2988, Zhangyang North Road, Pudong New District

Launched in 2015, VeChain aims to connect blockchain technology to the real world by providing a comprehensive governance structure, a robust economic model, and IoT integration. VeChain is the pioneer of real-world applications using public blockchain technology, with international operations in Singapore, Luxembourg, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, Hong Kong, and San Francisco.

// CLICK HERE FOR MORE BLOCKCHAIN NEWS